Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Absolut Vodka Claims the US for Mexico

Absolut Vodka, which was recently sold by the Swedish government to Pernod Ricard for a whole lot of money managed to get themselves into a bit of marketing trouble. Considering there advertisements are famous around the world this tends to have a pretty big impact.

Absolut ran an ad, in Mexico, of an old map showing historical Mexico. Mexico at the time was a bit bigger, as in Texas, California and much of the west bigger. It’s a pretty cool ad actually. I enjoyed it. Thought it was creative. Really played to the Mexican market. Well done Absolut.

Unfortunately others did not agree. Mostly Americans. Apparently it touched a nerve. And Absolut pulled the ad. Despite it only being printed in Mexico. Which sucks. People need to relax. Not everything is offensive. Scantily clad women in ads aren’t offensive. LeBron James on the cover of Vogue isn’t offensive. Absolut claiming part of the US as Mexico isn’t offensive. Political correctness is exhausting and overrated. And stifling.

I have written about the political correctness in advertising here in Sweden with regards to sexism in advertising. It’s mind boggling that people are concerned about this sort of thing. It almost seems that by constantly finding something to be offended by, the very people who are trying to fight sexism, racism, and all the other isms, just give credence and reinforce what they are trying to eliminate.

Sometimes an ad is just an ad. And a picture is just a picture. And to constantly be claiming otherwise only serves to diminish your position when it really does matter. Unfortunately political correctness can be found wherever you go. Whether it be Stockholm, Sweden, or Eugene, Oregon. And just about anywhere in between.


  1. I had a hunch you might touch on this issue.
    Some people just need to relax and realize it is nothing more then a lighthearted ad. Being a high school history teacher in Texas this bit of news was perfect for a lively discussion in class.
    Also, I found it rather interesting that the makers of Absolut was just bought by a French company!
    I guess some Americans just have a problem with anything french :)

  2. "I have poured the remainder of my Absolut bottles down the sink," one blogger wrote. - from the linked yahoo page.

    The people who respond to these subjects claim to be the informed and weary American who must take to every issue, yet with all the pressing issues at hand i would hope that these "patriotic" individuals who bitch and moan about some stupid (cool ass) liquor add could find other, more important arguments to take part in. give it a rest.. it's exhausting - for both sides

    I being an american have taken to the same extreme and poured the remainder of my Absolut bottles down my throat... mmmm

    - Jorge Ruiz Gonzalez ... maybe?

  3. I really think that we need to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Absolut Ice Bar in Stockholm this week--Mon - Thurs @ 4:30 and 3:00 on the weekend!

    Seems to be all the rage.

  4. I totally agree with you hairy. I think it's stupid just to get upset over it, not to mention to boycott Absolut because of it. It's a patriotic ad, appealing to the national pride of the Mexicans. Why isn't that OK? Americans are probably the most patriotic people in the whole world and never miss a chance to tell the world and themselves how great their country is. Then comes one ad showing how Mexico looked in the 19th century, only being printed in Mexico, and suddenly a lot of Americans swear they'll never drink Absolut again in their whole lives. You're right, though, people that get offended by the most ridiculous ads (ridiculous in the way that they're nothing to get upset about) and devote so much time to eliminating those ads can be found anywhere in the world. With that being said, I feel that Americans and patriotism is a chapter on it's own and I don't see people getting upset about an ad like this in many other countries in the world. A bit like so called sexism in Swedish ads. I'm pretty sure you could write a long chapter on that subject too...

  5. @travis - yeah and that's the thing... Absolut is known for these sorts of ads.

    and the sale of ABsolut was a big deal here in Sweden. some people are fired up because they believe it is a short term boost for the current, more conservative, government. others ar epumped because it was a huge amount of money.

    @anonymous/Jorge - that was probably one of my favorite quotes in the article. absolutley ridiculous.

    @john - that place is pretty damn cool. although a complete tourist trap but whatever. its not everyday you drink vodka from glasses made entirely of ice. maybe Ill head down there this week to see if there are any crazies waving american flags and protesting.

    @robban - seriously. people need to relax about some things. and it seems like different countries have different things that get people all riled up. sexism in Sweden. Patriotism in the US. either way it's just an ad. I must say all of the protests seems to give more credit to the designers and copywriters than they probably deserve. because in the end it is just a print advertisement.

  6. Yeah, just ridiculous... The Mexican empire was bigger back then. Is it weird that some Mexicans like the thought of it being that big again, and that a company make an ad about it? No. Is it offensive against USA? Hell no. And even if it was - (like you said) it's still just an ad.

    Btw, you're right, it's a pretty good ad, actually.

  7. agreed. and Absolut usually does some good work.